Public housing wait increase

DESPITE a statewide fall in public housing waiting list figures, Gippsland Region recorded an increase during the March quarter.

A further 27 applications through the Morwell office contributed to the rise in Gippsland region’s figures.

Bairnsdale office recorded a fall of 18 applications but Sale office recorded a rise in 16 applications, increasing Gippsland’s waiting list by 25.

However, in the document released by State Housing Minister Wendy Lovell Victoria recorded an overall third-quarterly fall in public housing waiting list figures.

The total number of applicants for the March quarter fell from 38,566 in December 2011, to 37,887.

“We’re working hard to reduce the waiting list through better management and a new approach,” Ms Lovell said

She said the State Government had been left to address a crisis in the public housing portfolio after more than a decade of neglect and mismanagement by the former government.

The recent Victorian Auditor General’s report painted a dire picture for Victorian public housing.

The report explained public housing was in a critical financial crisis due to an “unsustainable” operating model which could render 14 per cent of housing becoming obsolete over the next four years and higher rent for tenants.

Victorian Public Tenants Association chairperson Margaret Guthrie said the recent figures were a sign of things to come.

“It’s obvious by these new figures that the waiting list for public housing is getting longer because more people in Gippsland need housing but no new housing is being provided to accommodate them,” Ms Guthrie said.

She said the fate of Latrobe Valley public tenants and those on the waiting list would be determined following the release of the State Government’s Public Housing Framework report, expected to be released in the coming weeks.

However, Ms Guthrie said she had a “dismal view” about the anticipated report.

“We believe that the State Government is going to examine broadly all issues related to public housing and future provisions and in doing so there will be some transfer of management,” she said.

The housing framework report will cover issues such as public housing, waiting lists, allocation of housing based on needs, management and maintenance of public stock, rent, tenant and the role of community housing.